The United States and 20 other countries on Monday condemned Cuba for its crackdown on thousands of freedom protesters and called on Havana to release the demonstrators and restore internet access on the island nation.
“Today, democracies around the world are coming together to support the Cuban people, calling on the Cuban government to respect Cubans’ demands for universal human rights,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.
He said the Cuban government, which has arrested hundreds of protesters, “has responded, not by recognizing the voices of its own people, but by further stifling those voices through arbitrary detentions and secret summary trials lacking due process guarantees.”
The joint statement said that the tens of thousands of Cubans who took to the streets on July 11 “exercised universal freedoms of expression and assembly, rights enshrined” in international human rights charters.
“We urge the Cuban government to heed the voices and demands of the Cuban people,” the joint statement said. “The international community will not waver in its support of the Cuban people and all those who stand up for the basic freedoms all people deserve.”
Joining the U.S. in the statement were the governments of Austria, Brazil, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Estonia, Guatemala, Greece, Honduras, Israel, Latvia, Lithuania, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, South Korea and Ukraine.
U.S. President Joe Biden last week assailed the Cuban crackdown and sanctioned the Cuban military chief and the country’s internal security division for its arrest and detention of hundreds of protesters. The Cuban government has denounced the protests.